Winthrop WA to Tonasket WA
7 hrs travel time
5 1/2 hrs saddle time
Climbed 4,400 ft
This morning had a great breakfast at local restaurant and them started climbing. Still a little tight from yesterday, I plowed ahead. What was interesting is how dramatically different the vistas were today versus my ride thru the cascades mtns. I don’t think anything will be as beautiful as what I saw yesterday
I stopped for lunch in Riverside WA with a sandwich I had purchased at the morning restaurant. It was mile 55 for me. I called ahead to book a warm showers host. But as I biked the 15 miles to Tonasket , I missed the turn off for the host’s home. I went 3 extra miles down a hill to downtown Tonasket. I called my host and thanked her but told her I wasn’t biking 3 miles up hill in the wrong direction. My next option was the local visitor center that allows cyclists to camp in their back yard and use their bathroom. But no showers! So I moved on to a local motel for $59 a night. I did not sign up for their frequent flier program.
I’m going to walk into town and grab a bite to eat and get a good night of sleep. Tomorrow I have my last two major MTns to climb for a while. I don’t know if I will make both of them. We will see. I just have to keep praying for more of the yellow signs as the one I show below.
Tonasket Wa to Republic WA
5 hr travel time
4 hr saddle time
I had a choice for today. Go over two passes in a 80 mile haul, or just do one mtn and try to rejuvenate my thighs. With the extra miles I put on the first three days, I figured just climb one hill today
My morning didn’t start too well. I went thru my morning bike ck and my front tire felt a little soft. I pumped some air into it and rode 4 blocks to grab a homemade breakfast at the Mobil station. As I was walking out a couple greeted me and we started talking cycling. They were in town to do a day ride, and the husband had done a xcountry ride a few years ago. He said it was the best experience of his life. While talking with them, I touched my wheel again and it felt soft. They mentioned they had a strong foot pump if I wanted to pump more air into the tire. I took them up on their offer and as I pumped I could hear a hissing sound. Not good! So I replaced another tube. This time I carefully checked the tire for foreign objects, but found nothing. So I went on my way The next 40 miles I kept looking down at tire, waiting for it to lose air. So far so good.
A couple of other stories:
My check in yesterday at the Apple Inn Motel took about an hour! Chris, the 65 yr old man behind the desk, loved to talk. It started with a conversation about running marathons. He had a bunch of pictures of Boston and Marine Core Marathons on the walls. That led into a story about his knees, including him going into his office to show me his X-rays. Then, a women walked in asking if she could hang a poster for the local rodeo, and he spent 20 mins hitting on her. A phone call came in, which allowed her to escape,but he spent 20 mins on the phone talking to Mary who wanted to rent a room the following week. I saw how this was progressing so while Chris was finding out everything he could about Mary, I used his “lobby” for my stretch down. He finally got back to me and after 20 min instructions on how to use the TV, and why he switched cable companies, I finally got to my room for a shower. This was the first shower on my trip that I decided to wear my flip flops in!
I’ve been warned about asking people directions because drivers have no sense how to translate road conditions to cyclists. Today, when I was 5 miles from my destination, I rode up on a 14 yr old boy on his bike. I asked whether it was up or down hill to town. He said mostly up hill. I grunted and pushed on. It turned out to be 5 miles down hill the whole way. I can understand the kid not comprehending mileage, but basic topography???
If you read the comments people have been leaving on my blog, you will see comments from people I have met on this journey. I was happy to get an update from Loren Bach and Dave Martus. They are a couple riding in a funky tandem bike Crosscountryviewpoint.blogspot.com. When I passed them two days ago, they were really struggling up the big mtn. They updated me that they are hitching a ride thru the MTns, and will continue biking across the country on the other side of these speed bumps. Smart people! I’ll probably see them again.
I’ve been in contact with a high school friend, Roger Alexander. He lives near Sandpoint Idaho. He is going to meet me on Saturday, assuming I get there. He has already spoken to the local bike store, Greasy Fingers about a replacement tire for me. It also turns out there is a big bike race Saturday with a beer fest after it. Now I have motivation to get thru these MTns and ride 160 miles these next two days
FYI, blueberries are supposed to be a great energy source
Having salmon tonight at Diane and Boyd Hewitt’s home. Amazing view of what is ahead for me tomorrow. Sherman Pass! Diane just updated me on the house with the yellow signs. Short story…….old man druggy lived there. 10 years ago he killed someone that broke in to steal drugs. He went to jail. 5 yrs ago place got busted for drugs so govt came to take the house. A lawyer from somewhere else showed up and moved in to save the seizure. She lost, but now she is running for local office.
Republic WA to Chetawah WA
Travel time 12 1/2 hrs
Saddle time 8 hrs
Climbed 7,776 Feet
Blog update sent following day when I had cell service to get pics from my camera onto cloud for this
As previously posted, yesterday I got to my destination around lunch and relaxed for the afternoon. But right before bed, I decided to ck my front tire……and it was light on air again. I decided to address this at that point because today I was going over a big pass and wouldn’t hit the only bike store until mile 55. So I took my wheel off and my tube out and put it under water to find the leak. Couldn’t find it, but did find the leak on the tube I had saved from the day before. Both Diane and I checked the tire and couldn’t find anything that could be causing these leaks. I knew if I can make it to Saturday, Roger already had the local bike store put a replacement tire on hold for me, but that was 180 miles down the road. Diane gave me a new tube and I crossed my finger it would work.
This morning I got up early at 5:15 because I had a lot of distance to cover, including at least two passes. My tire was a little light on air but I went with it anyhow. It was not very comforting thinking you are going to have a flat at any second. And since the tire was riding low, I kept looking down thinking it was flat!
I was told nothing would be open for breakfast in town so I had another home cooked gas station ham and egg sandwich. But then two miles up the road, there was a local “restaurant ” open so I went in there. I knew I had to get something good into my stomach for the big day, but I was only able to finish half of the 2 flap jacks and 2 egg special. But it gave me enough energy to climb the big Sherman pass, as you can see by the picture taken by my mysterious photographer (not John Saldi)
I decided to eat my words from the first day, and this time I took the direct route to get to the bike store, not the Adventure Cycling (AC) recommended route. It saved some mileage, but had way too many lumber trucks on those main roads
As I was getting closer to the town with the “bike store”, I started to realize that this was going to be a large sporting goods store. There is not going to be a bike service dept! I would be lucky if they even carried the correct tire. Sure enough, I get there and walk though the huge gun and hunting section, and in a corner are a bunch of “Walmart” type bikes and a bunch of tires on the wall. I proceed to ask someone if there is anyone that can help me with the tires. She calls Ben in from the back room. In walks Ben, my hero. It turns out that he use to work in a competitive bike/ski store in Idaho but relocated to this small town last year and got a job building up this stores bike dept. He had me bring my bike around back and in the warehouse he had a whole bike service dept. I didn’t realize it, but this location is listed on the AC maps. He says he services at least 50 x-country riders during the season. He put my bike on the rack and gave it a full tune up. His went over my tire and tube and came up with the theory that the leaky tube was my fault. The heavy walled tires I am now using are very firm. And when replacing a tube, it is difficult to get the whole tube in with the tire. So it requires some finesse to get the tube in without causing some harm to it. He thinks I might be rubbing the tube too hard. He professionally put in a new tube and I have more spares now. So let’s see how it goes.
My goal was to get to Sandpoint on Saturday. According to AC maps it would take two 90 mile days. When I was on the mtn this morning, a ranger recommended a shorter route. And at the store, they also recommended it. So I totally deviated from the roads that show on AC maps and went this other way, which leads me to where I am right now.
I had to climb Chetewah pass to get where I am going. At the top of this mtn is a ski resort. It was 6:30 pm and 82 miles into my day when I hit the peak. It would be a 15 mile downhill ride next, but no hotels, campgrounds or warm showers for at least 30 miles. So I quit. I was told about a ski school and summer learning center that has lodging. Well no one is here to open the place, but I made myself at home anyhow. Put up my tent, took a shower and did laundry with the hose left near the outdoor rec area, plugged in my devises into the outdoor outlets to recharge them, and discovered……there is wifi! NO cell service but an unlocked bathroom!
You will see a picture of a Habitat for Humanity store I passed. This is a good excuse to remind you that I am doing this ride for myself, but I am also raising money for Habitat. You can click on the donate button on my blog and read about how Levitt-Fuirst is building 3 homes in Yonkers for some vets. Thanks
A note about my blog. I know this is probably the first time for most of us to use WordPress. A big difference between this and Facebook is that you don’t see much details of the name of the person leaving comments. I love the comments. Keep them coming. But, for example I have 4 different Liz’s in my life and one Lizette. When I get a message from a Liz, I don’t know which girlfriend it is! Please give more description with your signatures. Thanks again!
49 Degree North Ski Area WA to Sandpoint ID
7 hours travel time
5 hours saddle time
I woke up this morning outside the closed up ski school. I made myself a Nutella sandwich for breakfast, bundled up in many layers, and biked the 15 cold miles down the mountain. Cycled another 15 miles to Newport for a heartier breakfast
As much as I knew I was cycling to Newport WA, I still kept visualizing the nautical New England Newport. So I kept telling myself to expect another typical town, but my brain still kept picturing tourists and boats. Well, part of my brain was correct, I’ll let you guess which one.
I then headed the final 30 miles to meet up in Sandpoint with Roger Alexander from my high school. I decided to take the scenic AC route which turned out to be beautiful, with wind at my back. Plus I completed my first state crossing and moved into Idaho. (Special picture for Abby).
There was a big bike ride that day in town and I was meeting Roger at the finish line. Roger works with juvenile delinquent kids and since today’s race was a fundraiser for the school systems, he was volunteering.
I pulled into town and went straight towards the bike shop, Greasy Fingers, that had my tire waiting. However, the tire they had waiting wasn’t foldable, so I couldn’t pack it away as my back up tire. And the fix from yesterday’s tune up (pic of Ben posted today) seemed to solve my tire problem so I didn’t want to mess with what is working. They did have a foldable tire in a slightly smaller width, that I purchased for now. I’m going to try to contact a bike store a few stops up on my journey to see if they can order the right one
Then I met Roger and his delightful 5th grade son Conner at the finish line (which I got to cross). I ate three pulled pork and brisket sandwiches at the post race party and then we went to visit the Statue of Liberty.
Roger has 6 children, so staying with him wasn’t a possibility. He hooked me up with his close friend Jim, who is a big cyclist. Jim is about to go on a few hundred mile mtn bike ride down the state of Idaho. I had dinner with Jim, his wife Lisa, and their adorable 4th grade daughter Margo. Lisa showed me how to hypnotize chickens ( they have a bunch running around). Margo and Conner shot bbs and sling shots at different targets as us parents sat around discussing life in Idaho vs NY. I told them about living around the corner from the Clintons and they told me about the double murderer next door. We really had some fascinating discussions about values and priorities. Jim teaches science and Lisa teaches public speaking, both at the local HS. After a great chicken dinner, Margo performed her cups song and I went to the trailer to go to bed!
What to do tomorrow? I had planned to take the 7th day off each week to rest. This would be a great town to do it in, with some interesting people. However, my thighs are the only sore part of my body. I feel like I should press on. I think I will decide tomorrow. Maybe I’ll do an afternoon ride to move ahead 30 miles. Or maybe not!
Matt, btw, you can stop studying Darwin and the evolution of birds. Today I discovered where birds were invented!
Some of these pics are from yesterday
More daily mileage than I was planning for week one, but feeling good. Only part of body that hurts are my thighs. Pushed too hard day 2 so thighs have been sore since then. Used a rolling pin on them nights 4 and 6 (Bernie u were right, I should have brought one of those big rollers from the gym with me!)
Trip is more fun than expected. I love the solitude during the ride, but enjoy Having people to talk to at end of day
Going up hills sucks. Going down them isn’t much better! You soon realize that when u are going thru a mtn range, if u are going down, it only means u will have to climb back up. They should have designed these MTns so that when you hit the first peak, it is flat until the end of the range. I will have to write a letter to the manufacturer. This first week should be the hardest MTns. This coming week I do hit the Rockies/Continental Divide/Glacier National Park/ the famous Going to The Sun Road (see pic of map) But I think it will be easier than week 1. Then no real hills until the bad Appalacian MTns in PA.
States left to go thru: MT, ND, SD, IA, IL, IN, OH,PA NJ
So far the hardest aspect of the trip is comprehending mileage. 20 miles is farther than it sounds . When looking on map, distances seem much closer. And mileage at end of day is much more difficult than morning mileage. I don’t have good topo projections which makes planning for hills difficult.
Wind is a major factor. Day 5 wind was in my face all day including going down the mtn. When wind is at your back, it is heaven
My watch has paint on it from before I left. It covers up the date which is perfect for this trip. I have no idea what date it is
Today I slept late and lay in the hammock reading, surrounded by chickens and turkeys. (I know the biggest turkey was in the hammock) Decided I needed to do around 30 miles today to allow me to get to Libby tomorrow. Need to get to Libby because the next town after that is 80 miles away. I was going to bike 30 to Clark Fork. But Lisa called up friends of hers that live in Hope, on the lake. So tonight I am staying with Tony, Trish and Ethan Butler. They are making me a huckleberry rhubarb strawberry crisp, all picked from their garden. And salmon Tony caught in the Columbia river. We just took a dip in the lake and on the way back spotted these animals, they call deer!
I think that answers most of the questions people posted. The mystery photographer will remain such
Today spent about 2hrs biking 21 miles to Hope ID.
No pics because bad cell area.
Thanks Marc for reminding me I can send via phone
Too. Heading to Libby MT today
Hope ID to Libby MT
Travel Time 9 hrs
Saddle Time 6 1/2
Big day. Crossed another state line and my first time zone
Woke up early and had breakfast with Ethan Butler. Got on road around 6:15. The good news is that my thighs are feeling much better. The bad news is that my left knee was acting up. I raised my seat to give my leg a little more extension, and that seemed to help
Btw, yesterday I passed that couple that are riding tandem. They had hired a Uhaul to get them thru the MTns. I told them I admired them sticking with it at their age, and when they look back on their three month adventure, it won’t matter that they skipped those hills!
I also passed, coming the opposite direction, Mike. He is almost done with his solo ride across the country, but he has been doing it in stages over many years
I was 15 miles out of Libby when I was stopped for road construction. They had closed rte 2 down to one lane and were doing a paving project. No shoulder. The only way they will allow bicyclists is if we are airlifted across the construction. So they bring in the truck, and I heave my bike into the back and they drive me the two miles DOWN HILL to the end of the construction. I guess I will have to put an asterisk at the end of my race stats. Or maybe just quit and start over another year!
Never heard from my warm shower people, so tonight is the Evergreen Motel in Libby. (Libbie, I am looking for the Mayor to get them to correct the spelling of the town)
Tomorrow will be a lot of ups and downs 80+ miles to next town, Eureka MT
Libby MT to Eureka MT
Travel Time 9 hrs
Saddle Time. 5:45
Before I tell you about today, one more story about yesterday. Around 2pm I pulled into a rest area to eat lunch. It was nice clean area, with a manicured lawn, picnic tables, bathrooms, water fountain. Perfect. Except, I didn’t notice the large 18 wheeler parked on other side of parking lot. Well as soon as I sat down, a stench overwhelmed me. Sure enough, the truck was stacked with three levels of pigs heading to slaughter. Thank god the truck took off relatively soon after I sat down!
Today started off great with a big plate of huckleberry flap jacks at the Libby Deli. Plus the waitress was really nice and her husband just retired from selling insurance. But the day quickly turned sour
As soon as I started cycling, my left knee started acting up again. I couldn’t pedal with that leg without pain. But if I stood up, like when riding up a hill, it didn’t bother me. I was kicking myself for not buying anti -inflammatory medicine when in town. I decided not to take the AC recommended scenic route because if I stayed on the main route I would hit a marina in 25 miles. It would be the only stop on this ride, and cyclist Mike from yesterday had told me they served decent food and had a store. Perfect breakfast stop.
At about 20 miles I passed a camp ground where I pulled in thinking they might have a store. The manager told me they didn’t have a store but she gave me three Aleve tablets. An hour later the pain was gone.
At the campsite I met Al, a cyclist who I had heard about over the last week. She was known for going really slow, averaging 5mph and doing 50 miles a day. She told me today she was going to take a short day and bike 6 miles to the campground at the marina for the day. Her blog is BigAlbucketlistride.
As I biked DOWN the steep long driveway to the marina, I was thinking this better be worth it. Sure enough, it wasn’t. The restaurant wasn’t open yet! I bought some Advil at the store and biked back up to the main rd
The route was beautiful. It basically followed Lake Koocanusa the whole way. This 90 mile lake was created in 1975 when the Libby dam was built and Kooteney River turned into a lake that extends between both Canada and USA. The lake was named by a local school girl during a contest. She took the letters from the name of the river and the two countries. I learned this fact from a retired German couple traveling thru the states. They learned it from Wikipedia!
I arrived in Eureka around 3 but before going to the warm showers home of Michele and Greg, I sat in a park and got on a business conf call. While on the phone I saw another touring cyclist bike by, and it looked like he turned down the street I was headed to. Well 61 yr old Dennis from Boston was staying at the same house. He is biking from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide, a two month trip. He and I went to dinner together and he told me stories of his many previous bike journeys, including one around the world.
I was going to take tomorrow off to rest the knee, but I don’t know if this is the right place to rest. I think I will try to make it to Whitefish Mt to rest.